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Archive for the ‘Trump’ Category

Tax Cuts and Debt

During the Obama years, Congress and the conservative talking heads blasted and ridiculed him for deficits and racking up the debt. Every day we had to listen how he was bankrupting our country, how debt was killing us. Remember when the Republican Congress was willing to shut down the government rather than raising the debt ceiling?

What happened to all that fiscal responsibility and loathing of debt?

The U.S. budget deficit this year is already 21% higher than last year. U.S. borrowing is expected to hit $329 billion in the current quarter. This will be the largest third quarter deficit in eight years and will equate to a 74% rise over last year.

Nobody seems to be complaining about that now. Are we no longer worried about our grandchildren?

Mnuchin is the bankruptcy expert. Remember, his was the guy who flourished during the 2008/2009 housing crisis. Millions of Americans lost their homes. Mnuchin got very rich.

Trump is doing to our country what he did to many of his businesses. He is running it into the ground. He is bankrupting it. When it gets nasty, he will walk away, personally much richer than before.

You can’t money-launder the United States national debt away with borrowing schemes from Russian oligarchs. So for the next 50 years, the middle class, our children and grandchildren, will be paying for the debt so the fat cats today got their tax cuts. Ross, DeVos, Mnuchin, Trump, all the kleptocrats we put in charge, are sucking the country dry, and we’re letting them.

Trump always says that our leaders have been stupid. Maybe they have been.

But right now, it’s us, the country, who are stupid.

 

 

 

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The Perjury Trap

Everyone on Trump’s side now talks about Trump talking to Mueller is a “perjury trap.” It should not be this hard to protect an innocent man. There is no perjury if the president simply tells the truth. Just do what Rick Gates did. Tell the truth!

The president has been telling the American people for a year and a half now that he is innocent and has done nothing wrong. I suggest let’s get the “witch hunt” over with. Let the president testify. He has nothing to hide, per his own statements, and if he just tells the truth, there is nothing to worry about.

Let’s do it!

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In the video above (at location 2:40) Tara Dowdell quotes Trump as stating the U.S. contributes 90% to NATO, and the actual number is only 22%. There are some misleading statistics at work here that need more analysis.

[chart credit: NATO]

There are direct and indirect contributions to NATO. Direct contributions are made to finance requirements of the Alliance that serve the interests of all 29 members. They are not the responsibility of any single member. Costs are borne collectively, often using the principle of common funding.

The chart on the left shows direct contributions by NATO country. So here is Dowdell’s 22% figure. Germany, with 14%, carries the second largest burden.

But that does not represent the correct picture, and I believe that Trump didn’t refer to direct contributions. Trump often speaks inaccurately or imprecisely, to say the least, but I am sure that when he said that the United States contributes 90% of the cost of NATO, he meant the sum of the military spending goals of each country. So let’s analyze those separately.

I have been on record many times in this blog with posts about military spending of the United States. In this post of 2016 I show that the United States spends more on defense than the next nine countries combined. Trump’s increase of military spending this year of more than $70 billion alone is more than the entire military budget of Russia.

For NATO, the member countries agreed to spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense. So the chart below is another matter entirely, and it shows the defense expenditures by NATO country as a share of the GDP in percent.

[chart credit: NATO]

This chart is pulled from the NATO website where there is a wealth of information and many charts.

Here you can see that the United States is the only country that far exceeds the 2% mark. Only four countries are above this guideline. Besides the United States, those are Greece (surprisingly), the United Kingdom, and Estonia. Everyone else is below or way below 2%. Note that some countries, like Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Canada has significant increases since 2014. Trump tried to take credit for those increases recently, even though he had nothing to do with them. They were prompted by Obama pressure, and mostly by voluntary military buildup in the Baltic nations, which are close to Russia and feared Russian aggression after watching the Ukraine debacle.

Those are just percentages. When looking at the real numbers per country, the United States military spending in 2017 was $685 billion. The military spending of all other NATO countries combined was $271 billion. This means that the United States spent 71.7% of all military dollars of NATO. Not quite the 90% of Trump’s exaggeration, but a quite staggering amount.

Trump has said that “Germany owes the United States a trillion dollars for its defense.” This statement is obviously ludicrous. Nobody put a gun to the head of the United States and made it spend more on military than all other NATO countries combined. This has been going on for more than 70 years now. We all know about the $600 hammers and $10,000 toilet seats. I have been vocal in this blog about our defense budget and the price of a single F-35 fighter. Here is an interesting example about a $1200 coffee cup. The United States just loves its military and loves spending vast amounts of money on that military. Others simply can’t keep up, or don’t want to keep up.

NATO was created to form an alliance where all other members stand up for each other when one of them is attacked. After the end of World War II, that was critically important for the safety of Europe. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, I am sure it irked Russia that many of its satellites quickly switched sides and joined NATO, including Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Hungary. It didn’t look good for the Soviet ideology, and it does not look good for Russia today.

But in all those years the spirit of NATO was invoked only one time, and it was surprisingly in the defense of the United States after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and what transpired after that.

The United States started what many consider an illegal war in Iraq, and many of the NATO allies came to support America. NATO members spent massive amounts of money and many of their soldiers died in Afghanistan and Iraq in alliance with the United States.

So who owes whom money?

The United States spends massive amounts of money on its military presence in Europe and Europe has started taking it for granted. I remember growing up as a boy in Germany in the 1960s. I lived in a city with a large American military presence. As post-war children, we never really understood why the Americans were there. To us, it had always been that way. Today, almost half of all Germans want the American army to leave. They don’t see the point anymore. I suspect the same is true in many other European countries.

Trump says that the current arrangement “is unfair to the American taxpayer.” Well, it may be unfair, but it’s not Germany sticking it to the American taxpayer, it’s the American Congress and the administration, and the past administrations, all spending way too much money on military – and thus taking value and prosperity away from the taxpayer. But then, of course, there is the military industrial complex, which feeds a large sector of our economy. Maybe war is good after all?

With our current commander-in-chief, I wonder if the United States would honor its NATO obligations if Russia were to suddenly invade the Baltic states, or Poland? Talk about a world crisis!

In the end, perhaps NATO has run its course. Trump may be on to something. Maybe it’s time to let it fizzle out.

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Trump said in front of the world today that “there was no collusion.”

What I saw on that stage today was collusion. There was collusion all along and it was going on right in front of our eyes today. What we all witnessed was collusion.

Remember when Obama first became president and everyone chastised him after his first trip abroad for “selling out the United States?”

Obama did nothing of the sort. He systematically cleaned up our image in the world and established respect and dignity.

What Trump did today was sell out the United States. Trump trampled on the foundation of our democracy and our values. He undermined the justice system, the law enforcement community and the intelligence services of his own county, our country, to protect his own ass.

Russia is a nation-state built on organized crime. Putin is a thug and a killer who hijacked an entire country. And our president kowtows to him.

Trump and ilk in the White House are so corrupt and morally bankrupt, and we are getting so used to that, we have been desensitized. I am starting to feel sullied by our own government.

We need to go to the polls and vote democrat this fall and throw out all the Republican enablers in the Congress. They are no better than the crooks in the White House.

Throw them all out, we must!

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John McCain’s Finest Hour

Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake. President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world. It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world. Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisors makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable. No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.

— Senator John McCain – July 16, 2018

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Testmarketing a Dictator

[picture credit: Irish Times]

From the Irish Times:

Read this article and watch the 2-minute video, and scare yourself shitless.

 

 

 

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Really, Rudy?

No Americans are involved in this indictment. How can a logical mind therefore conclude that Trump is completely innocent from that?

Russians were caught committing crimes against the United States, trying to make Clinton look bad and Trump look good. That’s why it’s called the “Russian Collusion Scandal” in the first place. Obviously, the attack happened. Some key Americans were involved, several have plead guilty, and one is in jail.

We have a crime. We have a number of Americans pleading guilty in relation to it. We have many Russians indicted supporting that the crime actually happened. And from that you conclude Trump is innocent?

If I were Trump, I’d be getting queasy right about now. The walls are closing in from all sides. The American people should find out, by investigators revealing the truth of what happened, one layer at a time.

Americans should not be listening to the propaganda of Trump himself and his ilk.

 

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Here is another word salad by the President of the United States. This is what he feeds to his supporters. It is really worth their while to listen to vapid fillers like this? I don’t see how you can admire somebody whose thoughts are so poorly organized that he will stand in front of a few thousand people and utter this.

Fifty percent of the people of the United States have a below average IQ. Perhaps this is what those people want to hear?

I prefer Crocodile Rock.

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I am tired of Trump supporters telling me that Trump is a brilliant business man. He is not. He is a failing business man who routinely files bankruptcy when he can’t make his businesses work, stiffing his creditors and workers. He is a con man who spent his entire career sucking money out of the middle class to enrich himself. Trump University is just one example.

Trump knows the game of the rich class, and he is putting on a circus for the middle class to distract us from what is really going on. The ultra rich, and the corporate world, are benefitting from what is going on quietly behind the scenes while we’re all distracted by the dazzling magic show of blunders and corruption and outrageous stagecraft at this rallies.

He puts on the Immigrants are Evil public show, knowing fully well that none of his facts make any sense, immigrants have nothing to do with the problems of America, because he knows we can only be angry about one thing at a time.

It’s the deeds of Congress and his cabinet behind the scenes that we should really be worried about. Here are just a few of them:

  • Dismantling National Parks or opening them to exploitation by mining and logging.
  • Removing consumer protections imposed on banks and credit companies.
  • Instituting tax cuts that favor businesses and super wealthy individuals and are largely meaningless to the middle class.
  • Neutering the EPA, whose mission it is to protect the public from corporate pollution.
  • Dismantling the Department of Education and pushing our public funds to private for profit schools where we have no control over the use of the funds.
  • Increasing the military budget and thus feeding the military industrial complex. The increase of $80 billion this year alone is more than the entire military budget of Russia.
  • Removing civil rights protections.
  • Removing all our work toward research and protection against climate change. This is the worst crime of all, since it’s going to take decades to fix, and our grandchildren get to clean up the mess. This is a crime against humanity.

Watch the hand behind his back, not the circus in front of our faces.

We, the middle class, are getting hurt and exploited everywhere along the way. The debt is skyrocketing. Some day we will have to pay for all this, and Trump won’t be around to help with it.

Corporate America is doing great and the middle class is not getting the benefits. That’s why the stock market is rising.

When it all comes crumbling down, the rich aren’t going to be affected much. They’ll still eat and travel in helicopters. It’s the middle class that will lose everything – once again.

Trump will long be gone by then.

We will still be here.

 

 

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I have spent more than twenty years of my career helping human services and early education agencies all around the country with administration of childcare programs and everything related to it.

My customers are child advocates who have dedicated their lives to breaking the cycle of poverty in our country, and helping young children get out from under the yoke of economic oppression and sometimes misfortune. They are dedicated to the welfare and safe-keeping of young children, and they are passionate about it. Their work means everything to them.

I cannot imagine what it must feel like for them to be forced to be complicit with state-organized and state-created child abuse and human trafficking, because that is exactly what I think is going on in our country now.

These child advocates are now finding themselves in a position to have to search for care and safety for thousands of children who should be with their parents, but have been kidnapped by our government. This is a crisis entirely of our own making.

We have lost our moral authority.

The United States used to be John Winthrop’s Shining City upon a Hill, and we came after countries for human rights violations. Then it started to get shaky when Bush and Cheney started openly torturing people. McCain, a torture victim himself, spoke out against the practice. Once we tortured our prisoners, every American soldier, upon capture anywhere, would then have to fear to be tortured him or herself.

Now, with open racism, and state-enacted kidnapping, child abuse and human trafficking, taking children, even babies, away for their parents with no hope of reunification, we have lost all moral authority for decades to come.

It will be a very long time before the United States can lecture a rogue dictator for human rights violations. It will be a very long time before we can justify invading a country because it abuses its own citizens. We have given up this bargaining chip. It will be generations before our representatives, our presidents, can walk into a room again and command moral authority, and stand on the principle that the United States does the right thing.

I am disgusted with my government that commits crimes against humanity. I am disappointed with my fellow citizens who support these practices by propping up the Little Man in the White House.

Make America Great Again?

Right now, I am ashamed for my country!

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The tweet by Trump above is an abomination.

Democrats don’t want illegal immigrants. Nobody wants illegal immigrants. Over the last 20 years, every Congress under every president tried to enact immigration reform, and none of them succeeded, due to political differences. This is not a “Democrat” problem.

Democrats, as everyone else, care about crime.

Democrats do not want more illegal immigrants because they are potential voters. This is utter drivel.

Insane, inane and atrocious nonsense coming out of the mouth of the president of the United States is an insult to every law-abiding, decent American.

Likening illegal immigrants to vermin (since only vermin “infests” something) is a racist insult to all human beings. Vilifying immigrants as the “problem” in our country is pure propaganda.

Trump and his ilk have created a divisive issue and problem where one doesn’t exist. Our country has a lot of problems, and illegal immigration is one of its problems, but it’s by far not its biggest problem. The idiotic border wall makes no sense. Separating children from parents makes no sense. Neither solves the immigration problem. Proper legislation and proper enforcement of that legislation solves the problem.

But the Trump administration is making it sound like this is the big problem of our time. They talk like Democrats want open borders. Nobody wants open borders. But saying it often enough and loud enough makes it sound like it is true and real.

They are pegging those who care about the child abuse occurring on our borders now as enemies of the country by wanting open borders against those who want to “enforce the laws.”

The whole argument is ridiculous, and it is meant to desensitize us.

I can’t help it now, I have to invoke Godwin’s Law again.

During the night of November 9, 1938, Hitler’s thugs, all over the country, raided Jewish businesses by breaking their windows and looting their stores. The night was called Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass, due to the shards of broken glass that lined the streets the next morning. They then blamed the opposition.

Jews were soon and openly treated as vermin who infested the German society. They used the same word that our United States president used in his tweet this morning: Infest.

Once a significant percentage of the population is supporting brutal policies simply by being quiet when they are carried out, the enactors and enablers become bolder and more brazen.

Today we are tearing babies away from their parents without any plan of reuniting them later. How is a deported mother ever going to find her infant child again, weeks or months after separation? Today we’re putting babies in cages. Tomorrow we’re letting them die. After all, they are the offspring of vermin, right?

And all this is being done in front of the watchful eye of the American public, and we’re letting it happen, and the Republicans in Congress are letting it happen.

I am starting to think of Republicans as repugnant.

To me, it looks like we have organized crime running the White House, enriching themselves at the expense of the country, systematically de-sensitizing us to brutality, first against the vermin crossing our borders, later against “Democrats” who “want open borders,” and then, in the end, they’ll come after people like me who do not agree with those tactics and politics, who speak their minds in public.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

— Martin Niemöller, a Nazi dissident

As you can see in Trump’s tweet, he has been coming after the immigrants ever since he started his campaign. And he has got a significant portion of our population convinced that immigration is our problem. He has emboldened white supremacists.

He is now gradually setting up to come after Democrats, whatever that is. He is actually blaming the family separation activity on Democrats, and his supporters are eating it up. Watch it, soon we’ll start seeing atrocities committed against Democrats.

And then, they’ll come after the media and free speech.

It has worked before, all over the world.

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“Hey, he is the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head,” Mr. Trump told Fox News’ Steve Doocy on the White House lawn Friday. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

— President Donald Trump

It is obvious that our president is impressed with dictators. I wonder who he thinks “my people” are. I hope the doesn’t think I am “his people.”

It is simple, Mr. President: All you have to do is arrest and execute a few of “your people” when they don’t sit up at attention when you speak, and you’ll quickly see changes.

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Trump has tweeted about the witch hunt going on.

Today Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort has been jailed following new charges of witness tampering. He’ll be held without bail until trial.

Trump has complained that due to the witch hunt many “lives have been destroyed.” Really? The lives of criminals like Manafort who consistently enriched themselves by money laundering, making false statements, filing fraudulent documents, bank fraud, and the list goes on?

It may well be that if Trump had never run for president, Manafort would be happily engaging in all those activities now.

It may also well be that if Trump had never run for president, his fixer Cohen would still be out there practicing law, threatening journalists, and palling around with Russian mobsters.

It may well be that dozens of indictments would not have happened, hadn’t it been for Trump running for president.

At the end of the day, those indictments, that will eventually turn most of the recipients into felons, were valid and justified. We have smoked out an empire of what looks like organized crime activity at the cost of the American public. Trump filed bankruptcy every time the criminal deeds of his fixers and followers were not enough to bail him out. Then the public got to pay.

So Trump wants us to believe these people are innocent. There were no crimes.

I say that these people now wish they had never engaged in business with Trump. Everything he touches eventually crumbles, recently more publicly than before. Everybody that works closely with Trump is getting disgraced at best, and cast off by Trump more often than not.

Let’s just hope our country and democracy are stronger than some of his businesses.

Some witch hunt!

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Trump and Crimea

Trump Told World Leaders Crimea Is Russian Because Everyone There Speaks Russian.

Maybe that means that the United States and Canada, except for Quebec, should belong to England, since we all speak English!

Yeah! Go Trump!

 

 

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